The Mississauga-Streetsville and Mississauga-West Rotarians extend an invitation to all children registered with the Easter Seals Society in Mississauga to attend this annual party on Sunday, November 25th.

The kids and their family (including siblings) arrive at Vic Johnston Arena around mid-morning to be greeted by Rotarians and other volunteers.

For most of us, this is the real beginning of the Christmas Season. For many of these disabled kids, this will be the only Christmas party they attend. The kids will be treated to a full agenda with face painting, their favourite costumed characters, building icing Christmas trees and decorations. Soon Rick Rossini-the-Magician will arrive to entertain his audience with magic tricks and stories. A highlight for the kids is the annual “snowball” fight with members of Peel Regional Police – always a question of who has more fun – the kids or the police. The Mayor generally stops by to say hello to the kids and the Rotarians.  Liam Kearney keeps the party lively and entertains with songs, challenges and sing-a-long music till Santa arrives. The officers will later direct the traffic for Santa’s parade. Yes, the parade is back!

Rotarians have hosted the Easter Seals Rotary Christmas party since the nineties.  Rotary has a long history with the Easter Seals organization.

Easter Seals – In the Beginning

The formation of Easter Seals Ontario can be traced back to November 28, 1922, when 10 representatives from seven Rotary Clubs (Hamilton, Windsor, Kitchener, Chatham, Toronto, Stratford and London) met in Windsor, Ontario to discuss the inadequate resources and support available for the province’s children with physical disabilities. Recognizing a need for action, they formed the Ontario Society for Crippled Children, inspired by the American organization of the same name, which had been recently created by Ohio businessman, Edgar Allen.

Some of Easter Seals’ early goals were treatment for children with physical disabilities and public awareness. During “Health Week” in 1931, Easter Seals launched its first public information campaign for the universal pasteurization of milk to help prevent the spread of tuberculosis. Easter Seals would continue to conduct public awareness campaigns on a variety of relevant topics in years to come.

The Ontario Government turned to Easter Seals in 1937 for expert assistance following a devastating poliomyelitis (polio) outbreak. In the same year, Easter Seals opened the first Canadian camp for children with physical disabilities. Fifty-five percent of the children who attended the camp that summer had polio.

This dread disease affecting thousands has been reduced to just a few worldwide. Polio almost completely eradicated since Rotary launched PolioPlus in 1985 and was a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Through decades of commitment and work by Rotary and our partners*, more than 2.5 billion children have received the oral polio vaccine.  *) Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, Canadian Federal Government.